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16 Jazz Greats You Must Hear Live to Appreciate

Find out what’s new with these 50+ favorites

  • Bryan Adams

    Diana Krall

    En español | This superstar relishes sexy, simmering songs that illuminate her smoky vocals and commanding piano skills. Krall is currently touring in support of her new disc, Wallflower — the closest she has come to sophisticated pop.  

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  • Danny Clinch

    Wynton Marsalis

    You can’t go wrong catching a live performance by this multiple-Grammy-winning trumpeter, composer and bandleader. His tireless arts advocacy and scintillating virtuosity have made Marsalis perhaps the world’s most recognizable living jazz figure.

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  • Michael Coakes

    Ramsey Lewis

    This year is the 50th anniversary of The In Crowd, the beloved LP on which Lewis’ piano trio delivered hot, finger-popping soul-jazz. Lewis plans to spend much of this year touring to celebrate that classic album as well as his latest one, Ramsey Taking Another Look.

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  • Jimmy Katz

    Pat Metheny

    With 20 Grammys on his mantel, this guitar whiz delivers an intricate yet accessible sound that attracts jazz, rock and country music fans alike.

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  • Jerris Madison

    Dianne Reeves

    Riding the wave set in motion when she won a Grammy (her fifth) for the disc Beautiful Life in 2015, the Detroit-born singer continues to move crowds worldwide with her earthy alto, stage elegance and intimate musical storytelling.

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  • Jenny Bagert

    Terence Blanchard

    If you’re a Spike Lee movie buff, you’ve heard this trumpeter’s evocative movie scores. On the bandstand, his scintillating solos and fantastic combos will thrill you to the core. But don’t take my word for it; check out Blanchard at one of his tour dates celebrating his newest disc, Breathless (out May 26).

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  • D. Darr

    Charles Lloyd

    Recently anointed a “Jazz Master” by the National Endowment for the Arts, the tenor saxophonist was also the subject of a recent documentary, Arrows Into Infinity. Inconceivable, I know, but Lloyd reaches even higher on his wondrous new disc, Wild Man Dance (April 14).

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  • Scott Chernis

    David Sanborn

    He has played with David Bowie, Billy Joel and Elton John. On his newest disc, Time and the River, the über-popular alto saxophonist reconnects with bassist and producer Marcus Miller to brew an intoxicating blend of soul, funk and hard bop.

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  • Mark Seilger

    Cassandra Wilson

    What other singer can cast a mood indigo as transfixing as this Grammy winner? On her new disc, Coming Forth by Day, Wilson delivers a phantasmagorical homage to Billie Holiday.

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  • Columbia Artists Management

    Chucho Valdés

    For a real treat, check out this five-time Grammy winner in concert: The influential Afro-Cuban jazz pianist and bandleader composes mesmerizing blends of technically precise European classical music with the improvisational fire of American bebop and Afro-Latin rhythms.

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  • Philippe Salomon

    Eliane Elias

    If you were a spellbinding pianist and singer carrying the torch for sensual Brazilian jazz, you’d pose for a shot like this one, too. Elias’ new disc, Made in Brazil, reconciles classic bossa nova with some enchanting originals. It also happens to be the first disc she’s recorded in her home country since moving to the United States in 1981.

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  • Mat Hayward/Getty Images

    Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea

    They both played piano with legendary Miles Davis, then individually created influential waves in electric fusion during the ’70s. Now the two maestros are touring as a duo — their first shared performances since 1978.

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  • Henry Leutwyler

    Wayne Shorter

    The perpetually inquisitive and innovative tenor and soprano saxophonist may well be our greatest living jazz composer. At 82, his performances bristle with a creative, almost combustible energy.

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  • Jimmy Katz

    Steve Turre

    You’ve probably heard him blow his horn in the studio band on Saturday Night Live. But to truly understand the depth of Turre’s amazing musical vocabulary, you’ll have to catch him leading his own exhilarating combos in concert, especially since his new disc, Spiritman, just hit the streets.

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  • Jimmy Katz

    Joe Lovano

    Honing a burly saxophone tone that can be tender or torrential, Lovano draws from a seemingly bottomless well of musical ingenuity. Here’s hoping he’s coming to a venue near you soon, perhaps with celebrated trumpeter Dave Douglas, with whom he shares billing on their new disc, Sound Prints.

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